poetry and prose about place

writing a novel – sub-plots

with 2 comments

In every story, sub-plots help with the story telling and contribute their own dynamic to the action, characters, and the relationships between characters.

sub-plot : a smaller, separate story strand that provides support for and adds complexity to the main plot

The courses I have taken have taught me that often subplots contain a minimum of three re-occurrences or ‘beats’ in a story.  A sub-plot is introduced, more is learned and the sub-plot is resolved.


To help me identify the subplots, I have used my ‘story board.’  I identified some key subplots and put stickers on the scenes on my ‘story board’.  Here you can see the subplots ‘A’ and ‘P’.


plot elements


This mapping of subplots can help me decide if some of the story is missing.  In the ‘story board’ below, sub-plot ‘P’ could be improved by a mention on Day 3 and 4 (the vertical rows of green trees indicate a day in the action).  Major inclusions of the subplot P on Days 1, 5, and 8 will be my three subplot ‘beats’.


plot connections


Copyright 2015  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

March 27, 2015 at 7:41 am

2 Responses

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  1. I think you could probably teach the course. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


    March 27, 2015 at 8:20 am

    • Hi! Thanks. I make a really good student! Fun to pass on the information though! Jane


      jane tims

      March 27, 2015 at 9:08 am

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